It's been six months since Kate, Michael and Emma confronted the Dire Magnus, but the trail to their long-lost family remains cold. Then Michael and Emma find the man who was the last person to see them. He knows about a secret map of a distant, mysterious land - maybe this is the clue that will lead them to their parents...
Meanwhile, Kate's connection to the Book of Time grows ever stronger, and when a dangerous trick traps her in the past, she must find new friends to help her return home.
Once more the children must embark on a daring and perilous quest to find the second Book of Beginning and harness its power. But will it be enough to save them all?
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Irreverent humor and swashbuckling adventure collide in a fetching fantasy. - Kirkus Reviews
This is a roller-coaster ride of a story, which includes old friends and new, a visit to Antarctica, the rescue of an Elf Princess (who is sometimes a dragon), a touch of doomed romance, a generous leavening of humor, life, death, betrayal, and (just a warning) a nasty little cliff-hanger of an ending. It is really Michael’s story–he deals with unimaginable challenges with humor, courage, and insight. Knowledge of the first book is suggested; readers who start with this one will definitely want to backtrack. Fans of the first book won’t be disappointed, and will eagerly anticipate the next one. The Emerald Atlas was very good. This one is even better. - School Library Journal
In the exciting second installment of Stephens’s Books of Beginning trilogy—even stronger than The Emerald Atlas—siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma flee the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans with the evil forces of the Dire Magus at their heels. Fifteen-year-old Kate, carrying the Emerald Atlas she rescued in book one, travels through time to a magical version of 19th-century New York City where she falls for a heroic young man named Rafe, only to discover the dark destiny that awaits him. Younger siblings Michael and Emma, reunited at least momentarily with their eccentric wizard guardian, Dr. Pym, learn they must fly to southernmost South America and beyond to recover the legendary Fire Chronicle. Fans of The Emerald Atlas will find much to love: the adventure-driven plot, a scattering of deliciously scary moments, and Stephens’s offbeat take on Tolkienesque dragons, dwarves, and elves (“The boy elves wore stiff-brimmed straw hats. The girl elves twirled parasols on their dainty shoulders. A few of the elves carried wooden tennis rackets”) are sure to delight. - Publishers Weekly
Nine Out of Ten...put down whatever you're reading at the moment, and pick this up - Children's Books team - Guardian
John Stephens received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia in 1998. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he has worked as a writer-producer on Gilmore Girls and The O.C. He was most recently executive producer on Seasons 2 and 3 of Gossip Girl and has also directed episodes of The O.C. and Gossip Girl. John Stephens is taking leave from his television career to pursue his passion for writing for children. The Fire Chronicle is his second novel.